Saturday, September 28, 2002

Open Minds to battle piracy in the country

The best way to stamp out software piracy in the Philippines is to provide free or very cheap alternatives and allow people to share their software. This was the claim made by Open Minds Philippines, a coalition advocating the use of free and open source software in government and business.

Open source software differs from its proprietary counterparts in that the source code, or programming, used to create the software, is made available to the public and may even be freely modified and redistributed.
Most open source software is available at very low cost or even for free. In contrast, developers of proprietary software typically keep their source code as closely guarded secrets and often charge exorbitant licensing fees.

The group pointed out the fact that since the source code used to make such software is freely distributed, it practically cannot be pirated. "We want people to share and redistribute this software," said Emmanuel Amador, Open Minds spokesman.

"We are inviting the Business Software Alliance (BSA) to attack the roots of software piracy, which is overpricing, by informing consumers that they still have a choice," Amador continued. "We are Third World users being forced to pay First World prices. We therefore want to work with the BSA to provide a kinder side to their anti-piracy campaign that shows our long-suffering consumers and government officials that free/open source software is a viable, affordable, and legal alternative.

The group also noted that using strongarm tactics against users while not addressing the causes of piracy will not solve the problem. "It's like going after users of prohibited drugs while leaving drug pushers alone," Amador said. "Providing users with a legal and affordable alternative, however, will attack piracy at its core."

Open Minds stated that it is willing to cooperate with the BSA by presenting free and open source software as an alternative to piracy at BSA-sponsored seminars as well as in its public information campaign.

The group pointed out that other countries, such as Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, South Africa, Peru, and even the European Union are already looking into or using open source software to improve performance and cut down on costs as well as on software piracy.

Open Minds Philippines was formally presented to the local Information Technology press last September 10, 2002.



Tuesday, September 24, 2002

DB2 Software Answer for Complex Data Management

IBM announced today new self-managing database software to help companies simplify and automate many of the tasks associated with maintaining databases. DB2 v8 provides integrated information infrastracture for database management, tools, content management and business intelligence for a seamless flow of information.

The new database software aims to solve critical business problem -- integrating information across the enterprise and minimizing the tasks and costs associated with maintaining their data management infrastructure. It introduced its SMART database strategy or the advanced autonomic computing capabilities, including self-managing and self-tuning features, enabling customers to reduce the time and costs when managing database systems.

"DB2 is the industry's multimedia, web-ready relational database management system, strong enough to meet the demands of large corporation and flexible enough to serve medium-sized and small e-businesses," said Tan, Ser Yean, business development manager for Data Management Solutions, IBM Software, ASEAN/SA.

Additionally, businesses face the challenge of managing information located in various data sources, the product delivers the broadests support for open standards which plays an important role in this e-business evolution as the foundation for integrating a company's most critical assets, across all platforms including Linux, Unix and Windows.


Sunday, September 22, 2002

It is PhotoKina time once again and camera manufacturers are coming out with announcements of new cameras, be it film or digital. I am a digital photographer (never been a film-user, though) and I always keep track of the new digital technologies.

This week, we shall be expecting new digital cameras from Canon, Nikon, Olympus, to name a few. What is really interesting is Canon's announcement of their 11Megapixel FULL frame digital SLR and the price announcement of the Foveon-based Sigma digital SLR (also full frame).

I know quite a number of digital camera owners here in the country and most of us agree that it has come to a point where the print quality rivals that of film specially if you use the commercial printers such as Kameraworld's and Fuji Digital's.

Film will still be here - it is still far more affordable (the camera, that is) as compared to digital. We just can't expect the "masa" to get themselves a digital camera. But who knows? Nokia came out with the 7650 with a built-in camera and hopefully we'd get to see Sony-Ericsson's P800 this year along with the Siemens S55 and Nokia 3650.

Question is - are you digital yet? ;-)


Saturday, September 21, 2002

Incident Response: Investigating Computer Crime (2002)

If there’s one book that can guide any company or organization wanting to put up a computer emergency response team, this is the one. In Incident Response: Investigating Computer Crime, authors Chris Prosise and Kevin Mandia provide an insider's look at the legal, procedural and technical steps of computer forensics and analysis. This "one-stop" read is filled with understandable information and frequently illustrated with FBI and other real world case studies, which show how to resolve computer security incidents. It focuses on the following topics:
  • to evaluate a computer security incident involving insider threat, Internet fraud, ransom letters extortion, unauthorized access, denial of service, theft of information, to name a few
  • Ways to determine the best response
  • How to implement that strategy, including detailed technical checklists and toolkit
  • The role of the response team, legal counsel, and law enforcement.
Charles Keating, Michael Milken, Robert Hanssen - all highly visible criminals whose activities once turned the corporate and diplomatic world upside down. But today...in the information age, there exists a new kind of stealth criminal who is capable of wreaking even greater havoc! In order to catch these cyber criminals, new strategies have been developed by an elite group of computer security specialists. Now two of them are sharing that knowledge with the rest of us.

Prosise and Mandia are two of USA's most respected computer security experts. Both have developed and taught courses, written books and articles on incident response, hacking and network security, and worked with commercial and governmental entities, such as the FBI, State Department, CIA, and NASA. They are featured speakers on incident response at security conferences worldwide.

Companies, individuals, and law enforcement agencies can benefit greatly from the immense guide that this book has to offer. A must have!

1st local web-based multi-party conferencing solution launched (2002)

Very rare would a new technology get me excited on a consumer level. The last one was with DotPhone (that sadly never given the chance to come out) and Chikka. Now, there'a new application that sparked my enthusiasm and that is Infocom's AVICON.

AVICON claims to be the first local web-based multi-party conferencing solution that allows one to conduct meetings with multiple people anytime, anywhere. With a webcam and headset for voice, I can communicate using voice, video, text, and data at the same time. It also has conferencing tools like whiteboard, image sharing, whisper (sending message to only one person), chat, and meeting notification.

Ideally, users of this system must have a DSL or any 128kbps connection to enjoy all the features at good speed. However, dial-up users can also join the conference but their participation may be limited only to the chat/whisper portion.

AVICON Forum subscription entitles a user to have up to four conference attendees with one virtual conference room alloted. Two sets of webcam and headset are also given.

So with this new technology getting me all excited, am now working on converting my Internet access at home changed to DSL or cable to maximize this to my advantage. At last, this technology is here and we definitely should start meeting this way.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

DigitalFilipino.com Turns 3! (2002)

Despite the non-stop rain followed by a heavy traffic jam last Tuesday (September 17), the DigitalFilipino 3rd Anniversary Party were still jam-packed at the Penthouse of Trader's Hotel. Joined by the active members of the DigitalFilipino mailing lists and supporters for the continuing improvement of information technology here in the country.

Because of the terrible traffic I only catched the talk/Q&A of Ms. Janette Toral and Ms. Sacha Chua. Sacha explained how her team in Ateneo won in the WorldWide Microsoft ".Net Best" competition as the best academic solution, Bayanihan Computing .NET, a generic grid computing framework that uses Web services to enable PCs to act as a "virtual supercomputer". Aside from that Sacha showed her wearable technologies and explained how it makes her life easier!

TG Limcaoco of MyAyala.com and Grace Dimaranan of Top Peg Animation & Creative Studio Inc. were also put in the hot seat that night.

Kudos to Janette Toral and to the DigitalFilipino Community!

Is Microsoft softening up? (2002)

Check this out - Microsoft softens stand on open source software - seems like Microsoft Philippines is re-grouping. I am just wondering, are they under orders from Redmond to issue these statements or are they just playing it safe until they get official reinforcements from Redmond?

OpenMinds have been gearing up their machinery ever since Microsoft Philippines issued a salvo against Open Source.

Question now is - where to?

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Studies show Open Source is cheaper than Windows (2002)

An open source group reveals studies which show that using open source yields lower Total Cost of Ownership than Windows.

Open Minds Philippines, a coalition formed to promote the use of free and open source software, revealed the results of several cost studies, disproving Microsoft's claims that Windows systems have a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) than Linux/open source systems.

"These studies ought to confirm in the minds of those in government and business what we have been saying all along," said Emmanuel Amador, Open Minds spokesman. "Using Linux and other open source software instead of Windows simply makes more economic sense."

Open source software differs from its commercial proprietary counterparts in that the source code, or programming, used to create the software, is made available for the public and may even be freely modified and redistributed. Most open source software is available at very low cost or even for free. In contrast, commercial software developers typically keep their source code as closely guarded secrets and often charge exorbitant licensing fees.

The first study, "Total Cost of Ownership for Linux in the Enterprise" released in July 2002 by the Connecticut-based Robert Frances Group, contained TCO data surveyed from mid- to large-sized companies. The survey concluded that "...Linux was the least expensive platform to deploy and operate. Although some initial costs were higher at points, the ability to massively scale the product horizontally without paying additional licensing fees can yield significant cost savings over the long term."

The RFG study also found that Windows systems had higher "soft" costs. These included costs due to the historically poor security of Windows. "Survey data showed that Windows installations require twice the number of administrator hours on average spent patching systems and dealing with other security-related issues than either Solaris or Linux," the study said.

This was followed by Brendan Scott's "Why Free Software's Long-term TCO is Lower." Released July 15, 2002, the paper explained in detail the economic forces that necessarily make open source software cheaper than commercial proprietary software, especially in the long run.

Finally, the group made available "Linux vs. Windows: Total Cost of Ownership Comparison" released by Cybersource Pty. Ltd. in April 2002. The study compared the purchase and total operational costs of running a theoretical enterprise with 250 computer-using staff on Linux/Open Source and Windows computer system platforms. Cybersource found that total savings over three years by using Linux, including hardware and staff costs, ranged from 25% to 34%, depending on whether new hardware was purchased or old hardware was re-used.

The studies revealed by Open Minds are available at the following:

* Total Cost of Ownership for Linux in the Enterprise

* Why Free Software's Long-term TCO is Lower

* Linux vs. Windows: Total Cost of Ownership Comparison

Open Minds Philippines is an advocacy group which was launched last September 10, 2002. It consists of the companies, individuals, and other organization who are the country's leading proponents of free and open source software.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

The Infotech Connection (2002)

Hello! We've been getting quite a number of emails welcoming back Infotech. Well we're happy to be back too with a pair of twin writers covering events for us. For Manila, feel free to invite jhermie@digitalfilipino.com to cover your events. For Cebu and nearby provinces, email jherlie@digitalfilipino.com.

We are always on the lookout for young and creative writers to join us. If you think that you have what it takes, please email me at janette@digitalfilipino.com.

Friday, September 13, 2002

Iomega Launched the Highest Capacity Drive in its Zip Family

Iomega Coporation, a reliable company in the line of data storage launched the Iomega Zip 750MB USB2.0 drive. At 50x50x50 read/write/rewrite speed and with three times more capacity than the existing Zip 250MB solutions, the new Zip 750MB drive and disk is positioned to become the fast and durable, portable solution to protect and back up important business and personal data.

In addition, the Zip drive is both for PC and Mac compatible and features a blazingly fast USB2.0 data transfer rate of up to 8MB per second. The drive is also backwards compatible with systems using USB1.1. For privacy protection, the Zip 750MB disks, like previous Zip disks, also carry a password security feature, that enable users to keep contents of the disk private.

According to Janice Chong, marketing officer for Asia Pacific, worldwide the company shipped 48 million drives and 300 million zip disk for this year 2002.

The product makes smart storage sense for small and medium businesses, small office/home office (SOHO) environments, creative industries (graphic designers and artists), consultants, corporate, government and education markets.

"It's perfect for home and small office workers who need an affordable, reliable and secure storage device such for backing up, protecting, saving and organising their digital contents such as financial records, correspondence, e-mail, and legal documents, graphics, video files and internet downloads," said Richard Lim, regional director, Iomega Pacific.

The drive is retailing at Php8,950.00 and the 750MB disks in a 10-piece pack at Php6,750.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Open Minds launched

With an aim to putting an end to traditional closed model software like Microsoft, an advocacy group called "Open Minds" formally launched today their organization to promote the use of free and open source software in government and businesses. Letting the people/consumer and software developer that they have a choice to use another software.

Open Minds stated its members "have come together to engage in a sustained effort to promote free and open source software on the pragmatic grounds of reliability, cost, efficiency, the protection of personal privacy, national security, and the freedom to share knowledge as a community."

"We have been planning this since early 2002," said Emmanuel Amador, Open Minds spokesman, "but we decided we had to come out now in order to counter the propaganda and misinformation being spread by Microsoft about open source."

"Open source software is the intelligent alternative," he continued. "It is enterprise-ready and will help jumpstart the local software development industry. For example, Linux, an open source operating system, is free, mature, stable, and secure, and can be freely modified. In contrast, Microsoft's Windows operating system is prone to crash, susceptible to viruses, cannot be modified by users, and is very insecure."

The group noted that the cost of acquiring and maintaining proprietary software for large organizations such as universities, local and national governments, and private enterprises, has become prohibitive, even when it is heavily discounted.

Open Minds revealed that many individuals, organizations, and even governments have become aware of the difficulty of tracking and avoiding programs that may be embedded in proprietary software which can be used to compromise privacy and security also known as ("spyware"). "This is a potential threat to national security and our right to privacy," Amador noted.

Finally, the group pointed out that licensing and intellectual copyright restrictions make it almost impossible to examine and reuse existing proprietary software code in order to produce derivative or customized software or to improve existing proprietary software, thus forcing developers to spend valuable time and resources "reinventing the wheel."

Open Minds announced that the group's General Objectives include:

  1. To promote the use of Open Source software in the Philippines by all sectors, especially the government, educational institutions, NGOs, and the general business sector.
  2. To provide a forum where individuals, organizations, and companies engaged in the development, marketing, training in, and promotion of open source software can coordinate their activities in order to present a unified, coherent message.
  3. To lobby for the adoption of a pro-open source software policy in the Philippine government.

Open Minds counts as its members some of the country's leading proponents of open source software. These include the Philippine Linux Users' Group (PLUG), Cebu GNU/Linux Users Group (CeGNULUG), Bluepoint Institute of Higher Technology, Q Linux Solutions, Inc., QSR Inc., the Distributed Development Network (DDN), the IT International Group, and Filipinos for Reform and Empowerment through Education, Entrepreneurship, and Electronic Media (FREE3).

Epson launches new photo printer line (2002)

Epson Philippines Corp. launched today four Epson Stylus Photo printers for entry-level, small office, home office (SOHO) and professional users or digital photo enthusiasts. The Epson Stylus C61 and Stylus Photo 830, 915 and 925 revamp the company's existing line of photo printers with easier photo printing ability.

According to Randy Kanapi, marketing communications head for Epson, The difference of these 4 new products from their previous products is the new resolution at a revolutionary 5760-optimized dpi (dots per inch) photo quality using Resolution Performance Management (RPM) technology compare to its 2880 dpi on their previous models. It also now integrates every printer with EXIF Print Standard to produce amazing 6-color photo quality printouts at 4-picolitre ink droplet for dots finer than a strand of hair.

And these models also have a PRINT Image Matching (PIM II), an expansion of the industry-leading digital photo print matching technology. It automatically optimizes digital photos from PIM II-equipped digital cameras, and is now compatible with the widest range of digital cameras, software and printers in the industry.

Among their partners that also uses Print Image Matching II are Sony, Toshiba, Olympus, Kodak, FujiFilm, Nikon, Ricoh and Casio.

The Epson Photo Stylus 915 and 925, the ultimate PC-less or stand-alone digital photo printing solution meaning it can enable users to print images directly from their digital camera without the use of a PC. The 915 printer is bundled with two separate memory card adapters: (1) 4-in-1 adapter for SmartMedia, Memory Stick, Secure Digital, and Multi Media Card formats and (2) a CompactFlash adapter for CompactFlash/MicroDrive Cards. The 925 printer is Epson's flagship direct photo printer with built-in automatic roll paper cutter. It also has a built-in memory cards slots for SmartMedia, Memory Stick and CompactFlash/ MicroDrive cards.

The Stylus C61 model is priced at Php 5,495.00. The Stylus Photo 830, 915 and 925 are offered for the suggested retail price (SRP) of Php 6,495.00, Php 12,995.00 and Php 17,995.00.

Saturday, September 07, 2002

1st Full Blown Pre-Need Website Goes Online (2002)

Loyola Plans launched the 1st pre-need Internet website yesterday at http://www.loyolaplans.com. Powered by Authoriz.Net, the site can accept credit card payments online.

My sincerest congratulations to Loyola Plans for this Internet initiative. With the current crisis, a lot may have negative thoughts on the timing of this initiative. However, I firmly believe that it is not just about timing but doing it right. With all the failures of past local and international dotcom, I hope that Loyola Plans learned from those mistakes to ensure that their initiative wont suffer the same fate.

With the current crisis and so much uncertainty, having pre-need plans is a good investment. If you are not yet insured or have a pre-need plan to help secure yourself or your children's future, the time to have one is now.

HP launched new digital imaging solutions (2002)

Hewlett-Packard Philippines launched its latest forefront technology in imaging and printing landscape with the aim to live vividly and with style in its digital imaging solutions. The technology, which represents US$1.2billion investment and three years of research and development globally in taking digital imaging to the mass market.

"What you will see from HP are products that will drive digital imaging mainstream. We have completely redesigned our products and supplies to meet the needs of consumers as digital imaging increasingly becomes part and parcel of how we live and work," said country category manager for HP's consumer products Ms. Maricar Gonzales.

Aside from the following new imaging and printing products: HP Deskjet 5550, 3820 and 3420 color inkjet printer. The company added a new product from their lineup of consumer product rollout since July. The new HP Photosmart 7550 photo printer and the new HP PSC 2110 All-in-One that provide photo-quality output to meet the needs of both home and office users.

"HP is delivering a full range of digital imaging products that produce photos that look like they were developed by a professional photo lab," said Gonzales. With these two new photo printing products we've built on our printing and imaging heritage and expertise to bring consumers - without compromise photographic printouts that last for generations.

With a street price of Php 17,999.00, HP Photosmart 7550 photo printer allows users to review, edit, and enhance photos using its advanced 1.8" LCD screen and front-panel buttons before you print - without a PC. While the HP PSC 2110 All-in-One printer offers all color, all-in-one printer, scanner and copier functionalities with a price of Php 19,999.00.

According to Maricar HP as for this year 2002 still holds the 53 percent of market share of the imaging and printing products here in Philippines.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

MS Project Management Solution (2002)

Microsoft introduced the new MS Office Enterprise Project Management Solution: Project 2002 and Project Server 2002. Microsoft Project provides support for business professionals, project managers, consultants, executives, IT professionals, and project team members for more than a decade.

Last July I attended a seminar on Software Engineering and I remember the speaker talking about Microsoft Project on how it will help Software Engineers keep track with their project planning, testing and implementation. Because its design is based on accepted project management principles, the Microsoft Project family supports every aspect from start to finish. Since professional and effective project management is crucial for efficient operations in every organization as it can lower costs, increase profits, and enhance customer satisfaction.

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

Spoke at Osborne Community (2002)

I was a speaker yesterday for the Osborne Community launch to talk about viruses and hack attacks. I suggest that you visit their site if you're looking for various IT books.

This coincides at the Philippine Book Fair event at SM MegaMall event. It was fun and I intend to go back again this week and see all the stuff that this exhibit has to offer. The book fair will run till September 8.

The Osborne Community, a consumer- and IT- based organization for computer and Internet enthusiasts will be launched. A single purchase of any Osborne book will entitle the customer to enroll in the club, which will entitle members to discounts for future purchases. Free gifts await customers, courtesy of the Osborne Media Group and the Universal Magazine Exchange Corp. Osborne books are available at the following book dealers: Alexan, International Booksource, Inc. (IBC), Goodwill Book Store, EDCA Publishing, and Forefront.